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4.34 from 3 votes

cholar dal

cholar dal is a traditional bengali recipe of chana dal or bengal gram cooked with coconut and spices.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: main course
Cuisine: bengali
Servings: 4
Author: Dassana Amit


main ingredients for cholar dal

  • 1 cup chana dal (split and husked bengal gram)
  • 2.5 cups water for pressure cooking or 4 to 5 cups water for cooking in a pot
  • 1 tablespoons golden raisins (kishmish), optional
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoon cashews (kaju), optional
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi powder),
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or add as required
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (lal mirch powder) or add as required

for tempering cholar dal

  • 1 medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies (sookhi lal mirch)
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut or chopped coconut (nariyal ke tukde)
  • 1.5 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or 2 tbsp oil (for a richer taste, use ghee)

for spice powder

  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 3 cloves (laung)
  • 2 green cardamoms (choti elaichi)


preparation for cholar dal

  • pick and rinse the dal well.
  • soak the dal for an hour in water.
  • meanwhile take 1 inch cinnamon, 2 green cardamoms and 2 to 3 cloves.
  • crush the whole spices in a mortar-pestle, till they are powdered. place the spice powder aside.
  • if you want to reduce the soaking time of dal, then heat water and soak the dal in hot water for 30 minutes. drain the water.

making cholar dal

  • once the dal is soaked, then drain all the water. add the soaked chana dal and turmeric powder in the pressure cooker.
  • next add water.
  • on a medium to high flame pressure cook the dal for 4 to 5 whistles.
  • the grains should be separate and yet cooked thoroughly.
  • once the pressure settles down on its own, then remove the lid
  • add sugar and salt to the dal. if using cashews and raisins then add them now.
  • stir and keep the cooker on a low flame to simmer the dal, till the water reduces a bit.
  • when you add the tempering to the dal, it should have the right consistency - meaning it should be slightly thick. 
  • remember that on cooling the dal will become more thick.
  • while the dal is simmering and has begun to get thick, prepare the tempering.

tempering for cholar dal

  • heat ½ tablespoon ghee or oil in a pan. first add the following spices - 1 bay leaf (tej patta) and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • next add 1 teaspoon grated ginger. also add 2 to 3 dry red chilies, 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing) along the powdered whole spices.
  • fry till they become aromatic. this takes a few seconds. then pour this tempering in the dal. mix well.
  • stir and then add cumin powder and red chili powder. mix well.
  • simmer cholar dal for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • in the same pan take 1 tablespoon ghee or oil. add 2 tablespoon of chopped or grated coconut (nariyal). fry till the coconut becomes light brown.
  • add the fried coconut along with the ghee or oil to the dal. mix well.
  • serve cholar dal with luchi, bengali peas kachori and even steamed rice if you prefer.


tips for making cholar dal recipe:
  • if the cholar dal becomes thick after its pressure cooked, then add some water to thin it. the consistency of the dal can always be adjusted by adding less or more water after its cooked. you can also slightly keep the consistency thin then what it is usually if you prefer.
  • avoid asafoetida or hing to make a gluten free version of this dal.
  • to get hints of gingery taste in the cholar dal, you can add ½ inch ginger - either grated or crushed into a paste in a mortar-pestle. just fry the ginger after you have finished frying the whole spices and asafoetida.